Journal for October 8, 2010

It’s been cold at night, but warm – sometimes very warm – during the day.  This afternoon it’s 85 degrees – it feels more like mid-summer.

But even on warm days, the mornings are usually frosty.

Brown-eyed Susan

Frost Aster – I think it actually got its name because its stems are hairy.  But it seems appropriate to see frost on its flowers.

Meg – another prairie person – came to visit this week with her kids.  Jonah collected handfuls of prairie grass seeds, and Ezra took a long nap in the gator.


Meg on the Big View bench

The view from Big View Prairie is especially beautiful at this time of year.

There are still lots of flowers blooming in the prairies

Great Plains Ladies Tresses


David’s Spurge – not a native.  This is a naturalized plant that has become a weed, but it’s not common on our place, and I like the way it looks.  It’s closely related to Poinsettias – in the same genus.    Like Poinsettias, it has long leafy bracts at the top that look a little like petals, but are actually leaves.  In Poinsettias, the bracts are red or white; in David’s Spurge they’re green with white at the base.  The actual flowers are in a cluster at the center of the showy leaves.

We’ve been working again on clearing Indian Grass Point.  We’ve mowed and cleared a few times over the last few years and it’s beginning to look more like a savanna.

Before mowing – it still has lots of weeds.

Mowing – Mike is in the back with his Powertrack.  Every time we mow, more prairie plants come up.

I found some sawfly larvae on a young birch tree a few days ago.  They’re called Dusky Birch Sawflies.  They look a lot like caterpillars, but the adults are flies.  They hang out on the edges of the leaves, and curl up in alarm when they’re startled.

They had almost completely defoliated the birch tree.

Shaggy Mane mushrooms

We took the boat out onto the Mississippi.  The river is still flooding from the 12 inches of so of rain we’ve had in the last few weeks.  We were able to get into lots of backwaters that are normally much too shallow.

This is our favorite boat launch – the docks were a little hard to get to!

A flooded Evening Primrose

A hungry muskrat

Still dark clouds – but no rain

This backwater was a little too narrow and shallow for us to get through – even in the flood.